Friday, September 05, 2008

Vegan Voyager: Croatia Part 1

So, as previously mentioned, I just got back from Croatia last night. I can't decide if I hated it or loved it.

On one hand, literally EVERYONE there smokes. And when I say everyone, seriously, I mean EVERYONE. Like, 99 out of 100 people smoke. People that know me will wonder how I survived. I don't go places where people are allowed to smoke. I am so sensitive to smoke that I can barely talk to smokers even when they're not smoking. Much less be in a country (with bad air circulation in their little medieval style villages, mind you) where the air just generally smells like smoke. I'm one of those crazy people (slightly nazi-esque, slightly fascist, perhaps?) that genuinely believes that smoking in a place where a non-smoker may have to inhale even a minor amount of the second-hand smoke should be considered attempted murder. So I hated Croatia.

But then, my GOD it was GORGEOUS. A while back, I traveled through the Baltic countries, and on the bus from Lithuania to Latvia and then again on the bus from Latvia the Estonia, I couldn't help but notice that there was not a single even miniature portion of land that hadn't in some way been changed by man. And I cried. I actually cried about how depressed that made me. In Croatia, this was NOT the case. There was mile after mile, kilometer after kilometer of untouched gorgeousness. Beautiful clear green/blue water leading up to pebbly beaches or enormous cliffs (and, okay, these DO exist mostly because the trees and bottom part of the mountains were bombed to smithereens during World War II) that slowly turned into amazing tree covered mountains. There were natural parks that were actually protected by the GOVERNMENT everywhere looked. So I loved it. For a small-town country girl who has been living in a big city for the last 8 years of her life, this was like heaven. So I loved Croatia.

We started out our voyage in Split, which is right in the middle of the Adriatic Coast. I didn't love Split so much - the entire coast was concrete, and when it was possible to avoid the cigarette smoke, the air just smelled, like, well, polluted water. No matter where we went, it was impossible to escape the smell. The FOOD, however, was INCREDIBLE! There were 2 vegetarian restaurants, and we couldn't have asked for more. Restaurant Number 1 was Makro Vega, where there was a daily menu (there was a vegetarian option and a vegan option) that consisted of soup, salad, and something delicious. Some of the most delicious tofu spinach samosas I have ever had. I wish I had a picture. Guillaume (my boyfriend with whom I was traveling) was more partial to their sandwiches, on magnificentally soft pumpernickel (I think) bread, and filled with lettuce and onions and tomatoes and home-made veganaise and a choice of smoked tofu, fried tofu, tempeh, or seitan. They really were heavenly. Restaurant Number 2 was Natural, where there was also a soup/salad/deliciousness daily menu and EVERYTHING right down to the tofu was homemade. There, we ate the BEST moussaka ever (Guillaume claims that it was the most delicious thing he ever tasted) - I plan to spend from now until I have to restart work October 1 trying to recreate it. MyGOD it was amazing. I wish I had taken food pictures. There was also a smoothie bar, Tonik Juice Bar, where the smoothies were not fantastic but happily consumed.

After Split, we headed down to Dubrovnik, and that, along with the rest of the trip, will be for another entry, as it is noon, and I am still in my pajamas sitting in a foodless apartment. Grocery shopping time! Maybe by the time the next entry comes around I will have remembered how to post pictures.

3 things said:

Anonymous said...

cool! I wrote the first comment. I just managed to go through your first post about Croatia (aka this one). a typical audrey-like description :). Yes I often think about visiting Europe. One day I'll get myself to do it (though I've seen France for like 10 days).

Joe M (not to be confused with the other joe :))

Kristen said...

you are so funny! i am glad that you finally found untouched land!

Spiggy said...

I didn't know Croatia was so veggie friendly. I never would have guessed.